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Trauma of War Doubles Asthma Risk Among Civilians

ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2010) — Living through the trauma of war seems to increase the risk of developing asthma, suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Those who are most traumatised are twice as likely to develop the condition as those who are least traumatised by their experiences of war, the research suggests.

The authors base their findings on a random sample of just over 2000 Kuwaiti civilians who endured the Iraqi invasion and seven month occupation of their country in 1990, and were aged between 50 and 69 at the time.

Walmart Fires Cancer Patient with Prescription for Medical Marijuana

Walmart Fires Cancer Patient with Prescription for Medical Marijuana
Man Who Earned Associate of the Year Honors Fired by Employer Even Though Medical Marijuana Legal
By Tahman Bradley | ABC News

Even though Michigan resident Joseph Casias had a prescription from his doctor for medical marijuana, he was fired after a positive test for the substance by his employer, Walmart.

The news last November he'd been terminated was devastating for Casias, 29, who took great pride in his job, once earning the honor of Associate of the Year.

"It hurts. It hurts because I care. I care a lot about the store. I always wanted to make sure I do well," he told ABC News.

Casias started taking the medicine last June to cope with pain from sinus cancer and a brain tumor. He says the rare form of cancer causes him pain constantly and he almost died when he was first diagnosed.

Casias sprained his knee at work last November and underwent the routine drug test that follows all workplace injuries. Questioned about his positive test, Casias told management about his condition and presented a state card authorizing his marijuana use for medical purposes, but he was fired anyway. Casias says management told him Walmart does not honor medical marijuana cards. Read more.

Heart Abnormalities Diagnosed in World Trade Center Workers

ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2010)— Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine are presenting more than 20 ground-breaking studies at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 59th annual scientific session (ACC.10) in Atlanta. Their research includes data showing that the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse has caused potentially dangerous heart problems in responders on-site.

Kucinich Just Argued Against the Healthcare Bill and Said He'd Vote Yes

What did they threaten or promise? He got nothing improved in the bill. No explanation. Just a desire to be compassionate . . . toward the president. In Q and A Kucinich defends legitimacy of president against birthers/teabaggers. He expresses concern for the "potential of Obama's presidency." What about the potential of the first branch of our government? What did they threaten or promise?

The Green They Steal, The Greed They Wear ...a St. Patrick's Day Lament by Michael Moore

Friends,

It was amazing. Every story on the front page of Monday's New York Times
told the story of the Age of Greed during which a system known as capitalism
is slowly, but surely, killing us:

Insurance company greed: "Millions Spent to Sway Democrats on Health Care"

War profiteers: "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants"

There's no profit in repairing our infrastructure: "Repair Costs Daunting as
Water Lines Crumble"

China, the bank: "China Uses Rules on Global Trade to Its Advantage"

You mean NAFTA didn't improve life in Mexico: "Two Drug Slayings in Mexico
Rock US Consulate"

What happens when Big Food profits from hurting kids: "Forget Goofing
Around: Recess Has New Boss"

There's now a daily parade of news like this -- well, not really "news,"
more like the media division of large corporations shoving your face into
the dirt that is your life. You already know the schools are a disaster and

Rep. Kucinich Press Conference on Health Care Reform: Today, March 17, 10 AM, Capitol Building H-321

Kucinich Press Conference on Health Care Reform

Washington, Mar 16 -

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Time: 10:00 a.m. ET

Location: Capitol Building H-321

Washington D.C. (March 16, 2010) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will announce his vote on health care reform at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, March 17, in room H-321 of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Obama Brings Dennis Kucinich On Air Force One For Health Care Speech

Obama Brings Dennis Kucinich On Air Force One For Health Care Speech
By Sam Stein | Huffington Post

Traveling to the Cleveland area to make yet another major speech for passing health care reform into law, President Barack Obama chose as a travel companion one very skeptical lawmaker.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is from the area where Obama is speaking. That would normally make his appearance on Air Force One Monday morning a non-event. But the Ohio Democrat also happens to be one of, if not the only progressive holdout in the House, on health care legislation. And he has hinted strongly that his vote, which could be the deciding margin, is firmly in the "no" camp.

The White House pool reporter on the trip did not get an immediate readout of any conversation between Kucinich and Obama. Though accompanying the two on the trip was Phil Schiliro, the president's liaison to Congress. Read more.

Obama, Durbin and Pelosi All Point Fingers at Someone Else for Killing Public Option

Obama, Durbin and Pelosi All Point Fingers at Someone Else for Killing Public Option
By Miles Mogulescu | Huffington Post

Barack Obama says he supports a public option but claims there aren't 51 votes in the Senate to pass it in reconciliation. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin says he would aggressively whip the 51 votes for the public option if Nancy Pelosi would send him a House reconciliation bill that includes a public option. Nancy Pelosi says she won't include a public option in House reconciliation bill because there aren't enough votes in the Senate to pass it. It's looking more and more like a game of 3-Card Monty.

Meanwhile, over 40 Democratic Senators have signed a letter or otherwise indicated that they would vote for a public option if given the opportunity and it is almost certain to garner at least 51 votes if it actually came to the Senate floor. But every leading Democrat is doing everything possible to avoid an up or down vote on the public option and pointing the finger at someone else for killing it.

It's all Kabuki theater to cover up the truth that President Obama made a backroom deal with the for-profit hospital industry that the final health care bill would not include a national public option. Read more.

I'm Down With Dennis

By David Swanson

Let me get this straight. The Senate will pass a public option if the House will. And the House will, because it already did. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t allow it. So the mortal enemy of public-option backers is . . . Dennis Kucinich.

Senators Versus Students

By David Swanson

As long as we're going to dump most of our money into wars and the military and Wall Street and health insurance bailouts, students are going to have to go into debt to afford college. But it would cost the students less and the government less, if private companies were not permitted to act as middlemen profiting off public loans to students.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance

To the tune of Maggie's Farm

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance
Well, I wake up and I'm coughing
Feel my sides and moan in pain
I got declined for operations
And it's drivin' me insane
It's a shame the way we treat the working poor
I ain't gonna be insured no more.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance
Well, it hands you a nickel
That costs you a dime
It'll charge you once
And then two or three more times
Then they fine you every time you slam the door
I ain't gonna be insured no more.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance
The premiums double
While the co-payments rise
Coverage narrows
The best customer dies
Before costing the company any more
I ain't gonna be insured no more.

I ain't gonna buy mandated health insurance
No, I aint gonna buy mandated health insurance

The Democrats' Scam Becomes More Transparent

The Democrats' scam becomes more transparent
By Glenn Greenwald | Salon

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about what seemed to be a glaring (and quite typical) scam perpetrated by Congressional Democrats:  all year long, they insisted that the White House and a majority of Democratic Senators vigorously supported a public option, but the only thing oh-so-unfortunately preventing its enactment was the filibuster:  sadly, we have 50 but not 60 votes for it, they insisted.  Democratic pundits used that claim to push for "filibuster reform," arguing that if only majority rule were required in the Senate, then the noble Democrats would be able to deliver all sorts of wonderful progressive reforms that they were truly eager to enact but which the evil filibuster now prevents.  In response, advocates of the public option kept arguing that the public option could be accomplished by reconciliation -- where only 50 votes, not 60, would be required -- but Obama loyalists scorned that reconciliation proposal, insisting (at least before the Senate passed a bill with 60 votes) that using reconciliation was Unserious, naive, procedurally impossible, and politically disastrous.

But all those claims were put to the test -- all those bluffs were called -- once the White House decided that it had to use reconciliation to pass a final health care reform bill.  That meant that any changes to the Senate bill (which had passed with 60 votes) -- including the addition of the public option -- would only require 50 votes, which Democrats assured progressives all year long that they had.  Great news for the public option, right?  Wrong.  As soon as it actually became possible to pass it, the 50 votes magically vanished.  Senate Democrats (and the White House) were willing to pretend they supported a public option only as long as it was impossible to pass it.  Once reconciliation gave them the opportunity they claimed all year long they needed -- a "majority rule" system -- they began concocting ways to ensure that it lacked 50 votes. Read more.

Bill Moyers Discusses Consequences of Health Insurance Bill With Dr. Marcia Angell


Bill Moyers Journal featured a discussion with Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and first woman editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. She is now a Harvard professor in the Department of Social Medicine. In this clear and concise discussion, Dr. Angell explains what is wrong with the proposed health insurance reform legislation and the coming consequences.

Excerpts:

  • What this bill does is not only permit the commercial insurance industry to remain in place, but it actually expands and cements their position as the lynchpin of health care reform.
  • Not only does it keep them in place, but it pours about 500 billion dollars of public money into these companies over 10 years. And it mandates that people buy these companies' products for whatever they charge.
  • It will take money out of Medicare and put it into the private sector. Medicare is the source for a lot of the funds that are going to go to subsidize the private health insurance industry.
  • ...we have chosen, alone among all advanced countries, to leave health care to for-profit industries, to leave health care to businesses that then distribute health care as a market commodity according to the ability to pay and not according to medical need.
  • Senator Rockefeller referred to the private insurance companies as rapacious, rapacious, and said, "Like sharks, they swim under the water, and you don't know they're there until you feel their teeth." Now there are not many people in America who would disagree with that description and so what this plan does is says, "This is a terrible industry, so let's force people to buy their commercial products. And let's subsidize it and put a lot of money into it." Read or watch entire interview.

Health Reform Myths

Health Reform Myths
By Paul Krugman | NY Times

So what’s the reality of the proposed reform? Compared with the Platonic ideal of reform, Obamacare comes up short. If the votes were there, I would much prefer to see Medicare for all.

Health reform is back from the dead. Many Democrats have realized that their electoral prospects will be better if they can point to a real accomplishment. Polling on reform — which was never as negative as portrayed — shows signs of improving. And I’ve been really impressed by the passion and energy of this guy Barack Obama. Where was he last year?

But reform still has to run a gantlet of misinformation and outright lies. So let me address three big myths about the proposed reform, myths that are believed by many people who consider themselves well-informed, but who have actually fallen for deceptive spin.

The first of these myths, which has been all over the airwaves lately, is the claim that President Obama is proposing a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy, the share of G.D.P. currently spent on health.

Well, if having the government regulate and subsidize health insurance is a “takeover,” that takeover happened long ago. Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs already pay for almost half of American health care, while private insurance pays for barely more than a third (the rest is mostly out-of-pocket expenses). And the great bulk of that private insurance is provided via employee plans, which are both subsidized with tax exemptions and tightly regulated. Read more.

Falluja's Birth Defects

Falluja's birth defects
By Riz Kahn | Al Jazeera

Joining the conversation will be Dr Muhamad Tareq al-Darraji who authored the report Prohibited Weapons Crisis about the impact of the US military assault on the Falluja population, and Dahr Jamail, an American journalist who reported extensively from Iraq on the US invasion and its aftermath.

Doctors in the Iraqi city of Falluja are handling up to 15 times as many birth defects as they were one year ago.

The chronic deformities include multiple tumours, heart problems, nervous system anomalies and eye deficiencies.

Residents of the city blame the surge in chronic deformities on controversial weapons used by US forces against Sunni fighters in 2004.

White phosphorus and depleted uranium shells were allegedly among the munitions used.

Most doctors are unsure about the reasons for the surge in birth deformities over the past year but say it could be a result of the chemicals left over from the fighting.

Send us your views and get your voice on the air

The US military has dismissed those allegations. Read more.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich Takes on Democratic Leaders with Insistence on Public Option, Call for Afghan Withdrawal

Rep. Dennis Kucinich Takes on Democratic Leaders with Insistence on Public Option, Call for Afghan Withdrawal

Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich joins us to discuss two House debates in which he’s played a central role this week. The Ohio Democrat is threatening to vote against his party’s healthcare reform package because it does not contain a robust public option. Meanwhile, Kucinich’s bill to force the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan was taken up on Wednesday. After a rare three-and-a-half-hour debate on the war, the majority of House Democrats joined with Republicans to defeat the measure. [includes rush transcript]

Senator Sanders Calls For Public Option Vote During Reconciliation

Senator Sanders' Office Published Links to Various Articles About Health Care Reform

Health Care President Obama is pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to strip the final health care reform bill of narrow deals aimed at appeasing specific senators. "We have defended it, and we will defend it," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose state picked up $600 million in extra Medicaid funding, Politico reported. LINK

Single Payer Sanders outlined a strategy for single payer that some liberals might want to think about, Ezra Klein blogged for The Washington Post. "The way we move to single payer in this country is to let one state like California go first," Sanders told a conference of progressive journalists. LINK

Public Option Prominent Senate liberals told Roll Call they are determined to put the public option question to the test when reconciliation comes to the floor.  Sen. Sanders said he believes supporters will have the votes when the amendment comes up. LINK

Public Option Sen. Sanders chalked up the difficulty Democrats have had passing health care to a mistaken belief about party unity, according to Talking Points Memo.  He told the progressive media conference that Senate Democrats do have 50 votes to pass a public option, Firedoglake added. LINK and LINK

Republican Obstructionists Senators frustrated at procedural roadblocks by Republicans met Wednesday with Majority Leader Reid. "We're working on a strategy to become more aggressive to combat that obstructionism," Sen. Bernie Sanders told Politico. LINK

Missed Opportunity The Senate's leading progressives expressed concern that President Obama squandered the transformational political coalition that propelled him into office. Sen. Sanders called it a "tragic mistake" that the White House fruitlessly chased Republican votes on health care rather than pass legislation, The Huffington Post reported. LINK

Sanders: White House Finally Gets It Sen. Sanders assailed the White House for purportedly wasting a year vying for Republican votes on health care reform, alleging that the protracted debate weakened the bill and damaged the party's standing among progressives, according to Raw Story. LINK

Progressive Pundits Some of the pundits at a Progressive Media Summit on Capitol Hill, including MSNBC's Ed Schultz, treated it as a forum to tell senators what they are doing wrong. Schultz complained that Democratic leadership avoids the Sunday shows. Sen. Sanders said Democrats forget "Rush Limbaugh was campaigning 365 days a year." LINK

Democrats, White House Close in on Health Bill  A final agreement nearly in hand, President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders are about to embark on one last sales job that will determine the outcome of the president's signature health care overhaul, The Associated Press reported. LINK

Slick Barry and the $100-Billion Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Claim

By Dave Lindorff

President Barack Obama is out and abroad stumping like mad for his embattled health insurance “reform” plan, claiming now that his administration will “crack down” on $100 billion in annual “waste and fraud” in the Medicare and Medicaid systems.

This new tough rhetoric is meant to win over some of the conservative opposition that sees all government programs as inherently wasteful, inefficient and corrupt.

But the claim itself is bogus.

The figure comes from a study done annually by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and that study makes it clear that it is not looking at fraud, but at errors. And there are two things that can be said about those errors, most of which appear to involve problems like illegible signatures on doctors’ orders, or lost paperwork needed to document that a treatment being billed for actually happened.

No Insurance Company Left Behind

By Katie Robbins, Healthcare Now

On Tuesday, the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) coalition performed a “citizen’s arrest” of the insurance industry at a meeting of Americas Health Insurance Plans, the private health insurance industry’s leading lobbying group, in Washington, DC.

Thousands came out to support this action, and rightfully so. There is no other place we need to be than in the streets in protest of the egregious crimes of the insurance companies. Advocates of Medicare for All agree that the private insurance industry must be held accountable for its crimes, and that it should be put out of business…permanently.

Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Healthcare

Healthcare Is A Right -- Not A Privilege
On eve of national health care vote...
Labor for Single Payer www.laborforsinglepayer.org March 10, 2010

Grassroots labor leaders vow stronger, long-term campaign to support "Medicare for All" approach to health care reform

Over 125 activists from across U.S. plot strategy for coordinated grassroots campaign to win single payer healthcare

Silver Spring, MD - More than 125 union leaders and activists from 25 states gathered at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD last weekend to strategize about next steps at the state and national level to win comprehensive health care reform. The group is promoting a "single-payer" reform plan that would work like the Medicare program, except improved and expanded to cover everyone.

Rep. Eliot Engel Says Fix This Corporate Health Insurance Bill, Or You Don't Get My Vote -- THANK HIM

Fix health bill or lose my vote
BY Eliot Engel

New York Daily News

CALL AND THANK HIM! (202) 225-2464

Civil Disobedience at Health Insurance Fat Cats' Confab

On March 9, 2010, around noon, about 14 pro-Healthcare Reform activists were arrested at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in down town Washington, D.C. They attempted to cross a police line set up at an entrance to the hotel, where the Fat Cats of the Health Insurance Industry were holding a conference. Earlier, the protesters had convened at Dupont Circle for a rally. Then, they paraded down to the hotel, about ten blocks away. The crowd was estimated at about 5,500. The event was staged by Health Care for America Now (HCAN), along with more than 50 major Labor, grassroots and religious leaders. Background here.

The D.C. police decided, for their own reasons, not to place criminal charge against the parties that were detained at the hotel. Four of the 14 reportedly arrested were: an official from the SEIU union; Jonathan Tasini, Democratic candidate for U. S. Senate in NY; Jeff Blum of US Action and Sean Dobson of Progressive Maryland. The crowd shouted chants, like: 'Healthcare, now!' and 'Arrest the real criminals!"

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